Political Theater Insults My Intelligence

In the race to the 2016 election for President of the United States, two major stories have been brewing as of late:

1- Conservatives disowned Donald Trump because of his most recent misogynist commentary.

2- Joe Biden is contemplating a presidential run, in no small part because his late son reportedly encouraged him to do so.  (How convenient that his son’s wishes became public!)

I would like to say categorically that both news stories are a load of BS.  Let’s review, shall we?

Mr. Trump is no newcomer to the world of misogyny.  The GOP knew about him before he was allowed on stage at last Thursday’s debate.    I could be kind of cynical and claim that they’re turning their backs on him now because it makes them look good in the face of Democratic assertions that they’re pursuing a “war on women.”

Stupid is as stupid does.  (Photo credit: Michael Vadon)

Stupid is as stupid does. (Photo credit: Michael Vadon)

Fortunately for you, I’m more cynical than that.  Right now, Hillary Clinton is widely assumed to be the eventual Democratic nominee.  And then there’s Mr. Trump who claimed at the first debate that his financial contributions to Mrs. Clinton have allowed him to call her when he likes and get whatever he wants from her.  If I’m the GOP, I want Trump around as long as possible but not as part of my organization.  It used to be the case that a third-party run by Trump would have cannibalized the campaign of any Republican candidate in 2016.  Now, however, keeping Trump relevant means the GOP nominee would have a very simple way of painting Mrs. Clinton as being under total sway of the wealthiest Americans.  Just play that debate video over and over as a political commercial and the Republican nominee most likely wins.

(Un)fortunately, Mr. Trump isn’t smart enough to realize that he undid his “leverage” over the GOP with that comment.  On the other hand, he might get his leverage back by eventually making comments about Hillary Clinton’s vagina.  Since Bill Clinton always seemed to be interested in every vagina other than his wife’s, comments by Trump might finally succeed in making her likeable.

Scary thought, huh?

Of course, Mrs. Clinton is not a sure thing to win the nomination.  DJ Gaffemaster Biden may defeat her.  Or maybe he won’t have to.

Let me ask you all a question: does anyone other than the Clintons seriously believe that the NSA has been keeping surveillance on all Americans EXCEPT Hillary Clinton?

Here’s a second question:  does anyone seriously believe that the Commander-in-Chief hasn’t contacted the NSA (part of the Department of Defense) to find out about all of the security issues that are presently being debated?

If Hillary Clinton did something that would make her unelectable, Obama and Biden are two of the only people who would know about it already.    The House investigation of Clinton is probably just political theater that’s trying to get information publicly that they already have.  And Biden’s preparations are probably a political necessity whether he likes it or not.   A credible candidate on the Democratic side (and Biden is credible in spite of everything) keeps the looniest of the loonies from winning a presidential election by default.  Sorry, Mr. Cruz.

Moral of the story: you don’t get the real story.  You only get the narrative that covers up whatever information cannot be released to the public at the present time.  Even if my speculations about Trump and Clinton are wrong, it’s still the case that all sorts of backstage shenanigans are more consequential than anything you “learn about” on the news.

Stop being a gullible sap.

Reading the Stories Insults My Intelligence

These days, I rarely write a new post on two consecutive days.  However, you may know of some critically important international crises that deserve immediate attention.  We must discuss them now and we must discuss them well.

Well…

Because the situation’s so urgent, we must visit the most respected informational source in existence: Playboy.

And guess who’s being featured in Playboy…

Confront your fear of Playboy.  I dare you.  (Image credit: Valstein0)

Confront your fear of Playboy. I dare you. (Image credit: Valstein0)

No, not Miley Cyrus.  Playboy is an intellectual publication and only produces material to engage the most significant of minds.  That said, you surely will not be surprised to discover Dick Cheney’s picture if you click on this link.

Actually, you’ll find three pictures of the former Vice President… and he consented to this.

Your dreams have finally come true.

Side note to readers:  As a man, I feel the natural obligation to explain how I ever-so-innocently happened upon the Playboy website.  I clicked on a headline and I didn’t realize that such a scandalous publication would be involved.  I cast thee to Hell, Playboy, and I hope my female admirers are satisfied with that gesture of solidarity with whatever it is I’m showing solidarity with.

I really did visit Playboy to read a story.

Soylent Hillary Insults My Intelligence

Hillary's golden years before her golden years.  (Photo credit: Henry Dunay)

Hillary’s golden years before her golden years. (Photo credit: Henry Dunay)

If Soylent Hillary
is made
out of people…

Will she degrade
and fade?

Donations,
Benghazi,
Email,
Controversies pervade.

Corpses.
(Her fault or not,
the dead feel betrayed.
They made her what she is.)

The consultants strayed
and made
The Soylent One.

Her new views are coming.
Her loyalists start drumming.
She drinks lemonade.

It’s bitter.

Once again
the Queen ascends
to nothing.

Made from people,
but not people herself.

Seemingly.

Cursed by her own deeds
to grow old
as Bill’s doting wife
with privacy
and inevitability.

Inevitability?
He’ll get laid.

How
does a former
inevitable
failed candidate
loser
defeated by her own faults,
unmade
by her own weaknesses
become inevitable again?

The addition of more
baggage?

Tirade?

No one deserves to win
except “me.”

Mitt Romney’s Detractors Insult My Intelligence

Mitt is back and he's ready to entertain.  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Mitt is back and he’s ready to entertain. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

After not-so-nearly coming somewhat close to defeating Barack Obama in 2012, Mitt Romney is reportedly planning to run again. Critics claim that he has no chance of winning the nomination, much less ascending to the presidency, but I believe that he will ensure a Republican victory in 2016.

Let me explain.

During primary season, the other Republicans will spend a lot of time talking about how Mitt is yesterday’s news, how he seems to lack core political convictions, how he seems to be seeking the presidency out of ambition and not out of service, how he seems cold, how his underperformance the last time around reflects on his leadership abilities, how he’s cozy with Wall Street, and so on.

After getting all of this practice, the Republican who eventually defeats him will be well prepared to hurl the same factually accurate rhetoric at Hillary Clinton.

New Yorker Politics Insult My Intelligence

Throughout Germany, you’ll find a chain of clothing store called “New Yorker.”  It vaguely reminds me of Abercrombie without the sex and expensive merchandise.

On second, thought, maybe it’s not so similar to Abercrombie…

Doesn't that make you want to walk in and spend all your money?  (Photo credit: halleliebe)

Doesn’t that make you want to walk in and spend all your money? (Photo credit: halleliebe)

Once upon a time, someone over there concluded that “New Yorker” would work as a store name, at least from a marketing perspective.  We have brands with “New York” in the name here in the U.S. so it’s not unique to Germany.  However, New York seems to imply coolness over there when you’re talking about superficial things like clothes.

And New York is cool.  Unless you’re a Boston fan…

And then there are the images of New York that foreign countries see and they assume that all Americans live in New York… except for Barack Obama who obviously lives in Washington and a little girl named Dorothy who hails from the mythical land of Kansas.  New York isn’t particularly associated with anything cultural in this view, so you get a blending of stereotypes:

We all live in New York and wear cowboy hats and carry guns and lassos.  Okay, maybe we’re not portrayed with lassos.  The German media doesn’t inform its people THAT poorly.

So let’s have ourselves an information party.

Images emerge from individual parts of our very large country and they usually don’t represent much beyond a segment of that location’s population.  (Hint: most Texans don’t wear cowboy hats.  Most New Yorkers don’t work on Wall street.   Most Americans don’t eat at McDonald’s unless a need arises, or uprises in the case of obnoxious children.)

But I’m tired of griping about stereotypes.

Instead, I’d like to talk about one small-scale case that does reflect on the U.S. as a whole.  Recently in Virginia, one of our country’s most highly ranking congressmen was defeated in an election that was only open to a small geographic area; he even lost to an underfunded member of his own party.

Some call it a problem with the system.  I call it useful, even though I’m not fond of the political movement that ousted him.  Right now we have a large-ish and staunchly anti-government group called the Tea Party.  (To my non-U.S. readers: the Tea Party is not a political party.  They are among the most conservative people in the Republican Party and their name is a reference to the 1774 Boston Tea Party.)

I’m not going to debate whether the Tea Party has screwed things up on various issues because I prefer to remain nonpartisan around here.  However, its ability to influence events points to something positive.  In most countries, such a sizable anti-government movement could threaten political stability.  Instead, our dissenters run for Congress and they can win whether the national party likes it or not.

The reasonable expectation of being able to wield influence and enact change outweighs any disagreements one might have with one’s current political leaders. And, despite claims to the contrary, we are still free to openly disagree.

Blogger’s note: This post was inspired by KleesButterfly’s excellent take on how Germans are misrepresented. I decided to do an American version today because of the upcoming festivities.  (Plus, I usually do European travel photos on Fridays.)  To my U.S. readers: have a most excellent 4th of July.  Don’t forget that the day is about more than flags and fireworks.  Since it’s an election year, take the opportunity to refresh your memory on how the system works around here… and do it before you start guzzling all that beer.

 

Edward Snowden Insults My Intelligence

Russia seems to play a prominent role in current events these days.  We have their anti-gay policies, their annexation of Crimea and desire to take over all of the Ukraine, and their harboring of Edward Snowden.

Yes, this “hero” Snowden thought for some reason that certain other countries might be more admirable in their actions than the United States.  While I’ve expressed negative thoughts about the NSA actions he revealed, I don’t quite get why he didn’t contact someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee (for example) who, if I’m not mistaken, has a legitimate right to learn that information and the power to perhaps slow the abuses.

Have the abuses slowed?  I thought not.  And now he gets to see lots of worse stuff in Russia.

And so, inspired by Snowden’s naive belief that foreign countries act for the common good instead of in their own national interest, I would like to present a song.  You may recognize it as a parody of the Tears for Fears classic:

Welcome, Comrade Ed.
There’s no turning back.
Even while you sleep,
We will use you:
Acting on your information,
Glory be to Russian Nation!

Everybody wants to rule the world.

It’s our own design.
You’ll have your remorse.
You helped us decide,
Helped us take the most
of freedom and of treasure.
Ukraine could not last forever.

Everybody wants to rule the world.

There’s a room where the Feds won’t find you,
Full of mice ‘til the walls come crumbling down.
When they do, I won’t be behind you.

So glad we’ve almost made it.
So sad you can’t now trade it?
Everybody wants to rule the world.

I can’t stand your dear old country.
It is ruled by rabid monkey.
Everybody wants to rule the world.

Say that you’l never never never never mean it
when you say borscht is spleen! It
is not what we’ll use to rule the world.

The world’s freedom and its pleasure
Can no longer last forever.
With your help we will soon rule the world.

Vandalism Insults My Intelligence

Politicians have been desecrating public property for years and no one has stepped in to stop them.

You don’t believe me?

I walked out to my mailbox today.   Its sturdy black pole rises from the grass-covered dirt as its arched box reaches towards the street. With its single red ear, it reminds one of Vincent Van Gogh, though I doubt that he would have looked as spiffy wearing those metallic number stickers.

It waits to be fed.

(Photo credit for uncropped version: Joy Schoenberger)

Give me a break.  An anonymous blogger isn’t going to use his real mailbox.  Therefore, you get to see an icy receptacle and a wooden pole.  (Photo credit for uncropped version: Joy Schoenberger)

Even though my lovely specimen was purchased with private funds, the interior space has government (i.e. public) ownership.

And as I opened my own shiny piece of government property, I discovered vandalism.  I discovered grinning idiots on glossy brochures that try to scare voters into believing that other candidates would destroy the state, the country, and the sanctity of all “we” hold dear. Of course, there’s also the compulsory American flag waving proudly in all that hot air.

Those brochures had destroyed the monochromatic calm that had reigned inside my mailbox; neither they nor their distributors belong anywhere near public property.

Of course, the Capitol is public property too…

Talking About Communism Insults My Intelligence

I love politics as much as I love academe and clogged toilets.  It all smells like crap.  Nevertheless, I’ve decided to teach you about some especially stenchful crap today.

Specifically, “communism.”

Ah yes, that oh so loaded word that everyone loves to throw around whenever it suits their purposes.  Depending on who you ask, it’s the scourge of civilization or an ideal to be emulated.

And since I love politics so much, I’m not letting anyone off the hook here.  Readers of all political persuasions (in the U.S.) will be forced to suffer today.  I even brought the necessary torture devices…

This Karl Marx memorial still stands in the former Karl Marx Stadt (now called Chemnitz) in Germany.  (Photo credit: André Karwath)

This Karl Marx memorial still stands in the former Karl Marx Stadt (now called Chemnitz) in Germany. (Photo credit: André Karwath)

 

I’ll start with conservatives, those elephants who never forget the mass murders and gulags, plus the economic destruction Communism wrought in so much of Eastern Europe.  Communism opposed us in the Cold War and, as such, it became an easy and convenient label one could use to destroy any unappealing legislation.  Fairly or not.

For example, enter Obamacare or whatever Orwellian name the current administration has given the law.  I’m no fan of Obamacare and I’ve written a few posts about it (here and here and here) but I’m always taken aback when critics call it “communist.”

Let’s start with a simple definition.  Communism means public ownership of the means of production.  (“Means of production” are factories, mines, restaurants, and anything else that is used to create goods and services.)  In pure Marxist philosophy, “public” does not mean “big government;” instead, the state was supposed to wither away and leave everything behind for the public as a whole.  Big-government communism was a 20th century political invention.

You read that correctly.  Karl Marx belongs in the Tea Party.  Not that they’d take him…

And so Obamacare creates public ownership of what, exactly?  Not the hospitals, not the insurance companies, and not the viruses.

Too bad, though.  I hear viruses are a growth industry…

And then the far Left (often humanities professors) reads and rereads the philosophy and writes theoretical tract after theoretical tract (which gets boring and boring and boring) but this group conveniently forgets that reality exists… and has existed for quite a while now.  Or they just want it to go away.   The gulags can be forgotten because they make communism look bad and academic “research” has to make the politics look good.

Sadly, I’m not joking.  Peruse any literary theory textbook and you’ll find entry after entry that proclaims the importance of putting political aims (always of the Left) ahead of any attempts to perform unbiased scholarship.  Of course, they’ve conveniently declared “unbiased scholarship” impossible.

Remember how Bush and Cheney were accused of “encouraging” intelligence researchers to produce reports that would justify a war in Iraq?  Same thing, different politics.

But back to communism.

With faculty like this, the curriculum ends up as propaganda because you can’t criticize the politics; it’s considered anti-intellectual to do so.  Funny thing is, these professors conveniently don’t remember that the philosophy wasn’t reflected in the overbearing government entities that committed so many atrocities.  Marxism, at its root, was a small-government philosophy like the one the Tea Party supports.  And the far Left can’t allow its opponents to gain an advantage…

And that, my friends, is what you’ll learn if you choose to spend $100,000 to $200,000 of your parents’ money on a college education in the wrong major.  You could learn just as much by attending a Tea Party rally or watching your dog drink from the toilet.

In the meantime, just rest comfortably with the knowledge that the Tea Party is a bunch of communists who want to destroy America.

Coherence Insults My Intelligence

Blah.

Time travel you say?   Who wants to revisit the bubonic plague, trench warfare, or the Gulags?  No one, of course.  If you’re going to make time travel sexy, you have to offer sexy destinations like Shakespeare’s England or postclassical Mayan civilization.  Unfortunately, relatively few people can fit in the Globe theater or Chichen Itza.  You’ll find too many time tourists and that can ruin your experience there.  Besides, neither of those high periods had particularly good medicine, so you’re likely to catch something small yet fatal among all those visitors.

So let’s do an off-the-beaten path destination: mid-1910’s Europe.  If you didn’t sleep through your history lessons, you may remember trench warfare being all the rage at that time.  However, this blog doesn’t concern itself much with holding to the latest fashions from today or yesteryear, so we won’t focus on the glamor of war.

Instead, we’re visiting that period to learn about Dada so we can bring back some rhetorical insights for today’s world.  Just imagine the possible applications…

Let’s start with political debates:

Hillary Clinton: jar recede squash vermillion ratatouille flan go waft swan carcinogen hoopla.

Joe Biden: No!  hark pert persimmon quid pro quo kung fu, suture pantaloon.

Hillary Clinton: Fanta zamboni, ham circadian!

Wouldn’t that be more informative than what we typically get?

And then just try to imagine the improvements Microsoft could make to the instructions for its operating systems:

Windows 8.0 halalas blagh cortoros, monog gonog fogog.  Halooka sa yau twagala ra, massootookulu vam.  Horsala maklava zo yeash ta eaglet wampus system error.

I bet you understood more of that than the typical technical instructions.

By now, you’re probably objecting to this post; after all, Dada was an art form and I’ve been suggesting its use for more practical applications.  So let’s get artistic, and I don’t mean this gem from over thirty years ago:

The Talking Heads are dead for all intents and purposes, so we need a contemporary artist who captures today’s soul to join our time travels so that he may recapture the lost magic of Dada.  I suggest Justin Bieber… loaded up on Xanax, of course.  Imagine his next song once we return from the past:

Shi huanga blanga boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs

Yeah, he’s gonna party like it’s 1918 but with lyrics that will stimulate the public’s intellects more than his existing offerings.    And after that success, he’ll be crying “let’s do the time warp again” before you know it… at which point we should just lock him up in a Transylvanian castle without a video camera.

The Common Core Insults My Intelligence

Originally posted on Facebook, this made it to the Yahoo homepage after making its way to Glenn Beck's website.  (Photo credit:  https://www.facebook.com/PatriotPost/photos/a.82108390913.80726.51560645913/10152143072400914/?type=1&stream_ref=10 )

Originally posted on Facebook, this made it to the Yahoo homepage after appearing on Glenn Beck’s website. (Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/PatriotPost/photos/a.82108390913.80726.51560645913/10152143072400914/?type=1&stream_ref=10 )

 

Dear Frustrated Parent,

We, the educational minds behind the Common Core, regret your inability to understand your child’s math homework.  Although your educational credentials impressed us, we don’t understand why you can’t comprehend one basic concept:  counting on your fingers.

It’s so simple that even a child can do it.

You start by taking the first digit that’s being subtracted, the one in the 100’s slot, and jump 100 on the number line for each 100 being subtracted.  Then you do the same for the 10’s slot and finally for the 1’s slot.  As you can see, the number line represents nothing more than a sophisticated version of the tried-and-true natural bodily mathematical apparatus (a.k.a. digits) that you conservatives claim to love so much.

It’s not scary.  It’s traditional.

Just wait until your child reaches Trigonometry and you’ll discover how much easier these methods make things.  Calculating sines and cosines to three decimal places will excite our teenagers more than it ever has!

Moreover, we are saddened that you chose to mock our interest in developing the children’s writing skills.  If more of you engineers were literate and/or competent in your field, you would understand the value of recognizing errors and being able to communicate them so that they might be rectified.  Your letter demonstrates that you have not progressed beyond a rudimentary comprehension of the English language.  Thank goodness your child has us to help him achieve.

We thank you for your self-incriminating gesture.

Sincerely,

The Department of Education

 

Blogger’s notes:

I do not have a math or science degree and I was able to figure out the homework assignment… which doesn’t exactly shed a more positive light on it.

For the less mathematically inclined among you, one would not use subtraction to calculate sines and cosines.  Judging from the common core authors’ ignorance of what will be needed in higher math courses, I assume they would not have known this either.

Perhaps I’ll agree with Glenn Beck again in another 100 years or so.  I imagine it will be something along the lines of “Gee, this dirt isn’t very comfortable.”

Media Blackouts Insult My Intelligence

The time has come for me to admit a severe diversion from the moral path my life has taken thus far.  You might want to sit down for this.

I volunteered for Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign and we had an extended sexual relationship.  She’s not as cold as everyone says and I can’t imagine why Bill constantly felt the need for gratification from other women.

Hillary has been around the bed a few times and she knows stuff.  Lots of stuff.  And I doubt she learned it all from Bill.  Let’s face the facts:  Bill has had heart problems for a while now and there’s no way he could have handled the kind of maneuvers Hillary was putting forth.  Maybe Newt taught her a thing or two.

This enthusiastic, nearly glowing, lady is the one I remember.

This enthusiastic, radiant lady is the one I remember.  (Public domain image)

You can probably imagine that the long hours she worked would inevitably result in some poor personal decisions.  That’s not to say I consider myself a poor decision, but she’s a married woman by law if not by affection and she ought to abide by her commitments… just as I ought to have respected those commitments.

Now that she’s considering another presidential run, I think the country needs to know the real Hillary and not the ice queen she’s always depicted as.  Since so many Americans have extramarital affairs, her dalliances ought not disqualify her from higher office.  She represents the nation.  She should be permitted to use her animalistic sexual instincts to show voters how much she resembles them, how easily she can connect with any common man she desires, how there’s more to her underneath those pantsuits.

Okay, I’m done now.  For the idiots among you: no, that relationship never happened.  And as I sit here writing the follow up, I remain dissatisfied with both the feminist and pro-male directions I could take with this discussion.    Sure, it’s probably true that Hillary would be skewered worse than Bill if news of an affair were to emerge.  By the same token, Bill could be asked “boxers or briefs?” while any journalist asking Hillary “thong or granny panties?” would be unemployed by the next morning.

The discussion of how the media treats men and women differently has been done, overdone, and otherwise been so pounded into people’s heads that they no longer want to hear about it any more.  This, in turn, creates a silence in which no one can hear anything that’s said on the topic… even when there’s something legitimate that needs to be heard.

And that carries my thoughts to George Tabori, a playwright and Holocaust survivor who wrote humorous works about Nazi atrocities.  (He reasoned that people had become so immune to the traditional violent descriptions that one needed to joke about something so unfunny to make its atrocity audible.)  I remember walking through the streets of Freiburg, Germany years ago as a huge banner was advertising one of his plays.  The banner read:

MEIN KAMPF

BY GEORGE TABORI

I suppose few people ingest Anne Frank or any of the other traditional representations anymore because they’ve become ubiquitous and, therefore, silent to all who see them.  Unfortunately, it takes a startling “Mein Kampf” in big bold letters on the main square to grab people’s attention and remind them about something that ought not become historical silence.

This, I presume, was the logic behind awarding Elfriede Jelinek a Nobel Prize for literature in 2004.  She usually writes about how Austria has (or has not) dealt with its role during Nazi times and her work is loaded with sex, violence, and the occasional zombie.  Her selection received numerous complaints from people who saw little more than smut in her work.

But Jelinek gets heard.  Mission accomplished.

And so I say, bring out the nude photographs of Hillary Clinton, the ones depicting her with her many lovers (other than me because I’m a private person).  Let them radiate in the sun, let the photographs end the silence of how much love she has to give.  Let Bill be put into the unheard-of humiliating position of having to publicly stand by his unfaithful wife, a woman whose libido has gotten the best of her, a woman who is indeed human… or beyond human in my experience.  (Damn, she was good.)

Unfortunately, Hillary probably has never had an affair for the media to exploit.  Too bad.  I bet she is warmer than people give her credit for.

Ethnocentrism Insults My Intelligence

Ah yes, the Olympics have arrived and the Russians have been celebrating… except gays and lesbians and guest workers and thirsty people and anyone who wishes to use a restroom with exactly one toilet in it.

That list goes on longer, I know, but I’m not here to rehash commentary that has appeared in a million places during the past few days.  Instead, I’d like to talk about our friend, Vladimir Putin.

The original is Putin’s official photo, courtesy of http://www.kremlin.ru . They grant permission to modify the image, but I doubt that this is what they had in mind. If i disappear tomorrow, no, I was not planning to take an exciting and sudden vacation in Siberia.

The original is Putin’s official photo, courtesy of http://www.kremlin.ru . They grant permission to modify the image, but I doubt that they had this in mind. If I suddenly disappear tomorrow, that “exciting” vacation in Siberia was not undertaken by choice.

As you can probably tell, I intend to discuss the outrage people are expressing over his statements and policies on homosexuals and homosexuality.  Many are claiming that the whole issue has given Putin a black eye and destroyed his ambitions for showcasing Russia’s greatness during the Games.

Granted, Putin deserves a black eye, but I wonder if he doesn’t come out ahead in all of this.

Hear me out.

It’s easy to forget that the LGBT issue is only controversial in certain countries.  He’s in line with the economically and politically critical Arab countries (and Iran) as well as numerous African countries and India, among others.  He was already on the outs with many Western European countries and the U.S.

Need evidence of those preexisting rocky relationships?  Let’s chat Ukraine.

To me, the whole controversy benefits Putin; he’s driving  a cultural wedge between us and more restrictive nations that will place him on the side of the countries whose friendship he wishes to maintain in the midst of his exploits in the Caucasus (and other places).  There’s more to geopolitics than the U.S. and Europe…

Of course, that makes him relatively immune to contrary arguments.  His LGBT policy, in such a scenario, amounts to little more than the political calculations of a shrewd tactician.

And the protesters are dancing and singing Kumbaya (and some are competing) and asserting that they’re changing the world because their message is getting out.  And in doing so, they forget one of the central Olympic tenets, namely that the Games represent a meeting of all nations and cultures.  That includes the many countries that impose a death penalty on homosexual activity.

Nevertheless, the protesters have managed to raise awareness of the issue among Americans who were already aware of the issue.  For that, the world owes them a profound debt of gratitude.